How do we survive in the Watson house? With nine of us in the house and seven of us under the age of 13, we run a tight ship. Bedtime, dinnertime, naptime and snacks are all regimented. We have a set of priorities that we stick to; it’s necessary to set proper expectations for everyone. If we don’t prioritize time together — as a family and as a couple — we feel the ramifications.
For instance, we eat every breakfast and every dinner together as a family, every day. It’s important to us. As a couple, we make sure to have a date night once a week, we get out of the house together for one overnight a month, and we get away for more than one night at least once a year. Our kids know this. It’s normal for us. We make sure we spend one-on-one time with each one of our kids, spending time with our boys and our girls. Because it matters to us.
Before we commit to anything, we acknowledge that when we say “yes” to one thing, we are saying “no” to another. We don’t want to set an example for our kids to be overly involved in everything. They have their whole lives to experience things. When they say “yes” to something, they know that means saying “no” to playing with the siblings, and that’s really important to them. We all like spending time with each other, so we want to say “yes” only to the right things. Time away, developing athletic ability, and developing their minds is important, but we don’t want to spend the whole day driving from place to place.
Early on, we established Micah 6:8 as our family mission verse, which says, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” This is the hope and vision we have for our family. There’s an outward expression here of how we act. The kids need to see the work we get involved with. We’re very open with the partners we work with. Doing things in the community that bring justice is an important part of who we are, because that’s an important part of who God is. When it comes to mercy, we want to create a priority to show mercy to others as God shows mercy to us. We aim to walk humbly because our spiritual beliefs form the basis of everything we do. This set of priorities guides who we want our kids to be, as well as who we want to be. These are adults we are stewarding.
Everything we commit to must fall into the mission we’ve set for ourselves. So before we say “yes,” we ask, “Is this for justice? For the mercy of others? Or for our own or others’ spiritual development?” We’re still developing what this looks like. Our yeses are reserved for our family first, but because we have set a firm family foundation early on, taking the time to put our family first, we are now able to say “yes” to more commitments outside the home.
There are a lot of things we would genuinely like to say “yes” to, but if it’s not our best yes, we can’t. We have to take the time to think, “Is this the best use of our time?” We pray, “God, is this something from You?” Sometimes one of us might be hesitant to do something and be quick to say “no,” but then the other one will say, “No, you need to do this. You can do this!” Sometimes our yes comes from someone believing in us for areas that have not been worked out in a long time. Other times we hear God continuing to tell us we have to say “yes” to a certain thing. It’s a learning process. Every opportunity is not the right one, but you have to be able to distinguish between that.
If the Lord says it’s going to be a good yes, go forward. If He doesn’t, move on. Pray for God to give you the wisdom, then listen and act. Give God your best yes.
— Benjamin and Kirsten Watson, former NFL couple
Benjamin Watson is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing articles and opinions. Check out Benjamin’s Increase profile here.
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